Fever blisters, otherwise known as cold sores, are re-occurring blister-like sores that appear on the lips, mouth and nose. Caused by the herpes virus, they are contagious and can be somewhat painful. Generally lasting anywhere from ten days to two weeks, fever blisters cause physical discomfort as well as embarrassment to those who suffer from them due to their inflamed appearance. Though there is no “cure” for fever blisters, there are homeopathic steps you can take to prevent and care for them.
To prevent cold sore outbreaks as well as shorten their duration, avoid foods containing arginine. This amino acid triggers the herpes virus and fosters its growth. Arginine rich foods include raisins, nuts, peas, chocolate, cereals and oatmeal.
Foods rich in lysine, on the other hand, such as yogurt (without gelatin), potatoes, dairy products and brewer’s yeast can boost your resistance to the virus. Lysine supplements are also available and can help in both the prevention of cold sores and speed their healing.
Eggs, fish, turkey and sunflower seeds are also good foods to eat during an outbreak due to their zinc content. According to doctor Milos Chvapil, professor of surgery at the University of Arizona College of Medicine, zinc interferes with the herpes virus DNA preventing it from reproducing. Zinc can also be administered topically.
According to altMD.com, topical treatments of vitamin E can help relieve cold sore pain. They also recommend applying a mixture of grapefruit seed extract with olive oil at the first tingle of a cold sore. Grapefruit seed has both antibacterial and antiviral properties to reduce the duration of an outbreak. Applying a zinc solution topically at the first signs of an outbreak is another treatment that has been shown to speed healing. Use a small amount of zinc sulfate (a 0.025 percent concentration) mixed with camphorated water.
There are numerous steps you can take to help prevent a cold sore outbreak. Stress, for instance, can trigger outbreaks. Learning to control stress with relaxation techniques can help reduce the number of outbreaks experienced per year. Protecting your face from sun exposure is another good preventative measure to take. Make sure to use sunscreen daily on your face, even during the winter. Wind is another element that can damage your skin triggering an outbreak.
Replacing your toothbrush after a cold sore outbreak is important for preventing a second outbreak. The moistness of a toothbrush offers perfect conditions for the herpes virus to multiply, therefore getting rid of an infected one as soon as possible is important. Dentist Richard T. Glass suggests in “The Doctor’s Book of Home Remedies” that storing your toothbrush in a dry place outside the moist, warm environment of the bathroom can also help prevent future outbreaks.